"In societies where Robbing Hoods are treated like a celebrity it is but natural to expect political parties to act like a Mafia syndicate" Political Jaywalker "In a nation where corruption is endemic people tend to confuse due process with aiding and abetting criminals" Political Jaywalker "War doesn't determine who is right, war determines who is left" Bertrand Russell "You have just one flash flood of money, you keep your people poor. It's like a time bomb and it's scary" Philippine Lawmaker

‘Right of Reply’ Bill, a Boon for Scalawags

What are they thinking or are they even thinking? They have outdone themselves once again I supposed in their circus freak side show errr legislative prerogatives at the house of congress in once again trying to pass off “rights” that is more of a joke than anything else.

Here we go again on the fixation to present the other side when professional journalist normally exerts reasonable effort in verifying the veracity and accuracy of their news item through reliable sources. People buy liepapers errr newspapers to read actual news period. It is still a business whose success is dependent on who gets the biggest chunk of the market and advertisers. I don’t know about the sponsors of the bill (Sen. Aquilino Pimentel et al and his congress counterpart Rep.
Monico Puentevella and his kuligs errr colleagues) what’s got into them but as far as this Political Jaywalker is concerned I want to read events as it unfold without bias or prejudice.

It is bad enough that there are newspapers passing themselves off as news when it was basically a propaganda material or worse ATM inspired expose’ that readers have to dig deeper to get the real score. Who wants to read liepapers full of crap that are basically prepared statements from mostly scalawags distorting the event in their own slanted point of view anyway? The problem is not about the aggrieved parties or entities that are the subject of unjust and biased reporting but paid hacks of the ATM Journalist kind dissing out lies and propaganda passing it off as legitimate news. The problem is you have kotonglist errr callousness ooops columnist in the payroll of politicians mostly those in power taking advantage of their positions paying these mouthpiece scalawags at the expense of the tax paying public through government owned corporations or agencies posing as independent kuno opinion writers.

Bloggers like Patricio Mangubat is worried that should the Ridiculous Right to Reply Bill pass many of his friends in the media risk losing their job simply for lack of same space to be allocated in including the “rights” of subject of the anomalies to respond.

Manuel Buencamino of Uniffors is frustrated as if libel laws were not enough is proposing that should our learned fooliticians errr politicians insist on passing off errr passing the bill then they should include “duty to reply,” which is reasonable if indeed this is all about fairness so that all sides are presented. A quote from Manuel Buencamino’s proposal:

“Sec. 1(a) DUTY TO REPLY - Any government official elected or appointed or any person who benefits from taxes collected from the public who are accused directly or indirectly of committing or having committed or of intending to commit any crime or offense defined by law or are criticized by innuendo, suggestion or rumor for any lapse in behavior in public or private life shall have the DUTY TO REPLY to the charges published or printed in newspapers, magazines, newsletters or publications circulated commercially or for free, or to criticisms aired or broadcast over radio, television, websites, or through any electronic device.”

Here’s the kind of report in “any lapse in bahavior in public or private life” I want to see the bill’s sponsors reply to:

No Pontius Pilate

An unimpeachable source informed this reporter that (Puentevella or Pimentel), as the case may be, was having a private lunch at a five star hotel in Makati. According to the source, who talked on condition of anonymity, the politician stood up from his table and went to the men’s room. The source followed him. He saw the pol enter the crapper. He heard crapping noises and the toilet flush but he didn’t hear the rustling of toilet paper. The pol, he said, left the mens room without even a glance at the washbasin. The pol then went straight to his table and dipped his unwashed hands in a plate of crabs served family style.

“Why are politicians so casual about their dirty hands?” asked the source.

Dean Jorge Bocobo at Philippine Commentary posted the proposed legislation from the Senate website on the duty to reply agrees with Atty. Alan Paguia that the bill as far as the public officials are concerned weakens instead of strengthen public accountability. Of course anything to weasel themselves out of public accountability is good for scalawags and no matter how the sponsors tries to delude themselves of their noble intentions we always end up with the opposite outcome.

Our neighborhood daily source of news errr I meant rumor and gossip the walking tsismosa (gossip monger) is alarmed and concerned who asked me if she was covered by Pimentel’s bill which she miraculously read, to quote:

But he said the sad fact is that no press organization - neither the KBP nor the PPI - has jurisdiction over the thousands of so-called independent media practitioners all over the land.
She thinks she is covered by the law and that now whenever she spreads the gossip about our two-timing neighbors having a tryst with their lovers she was concerned that she will now be forced to get her neighbors and their lovers side of the story telling a lie. Not a good situation I guess to confront the subject of her gossip but I assured her that no she is not covered because she is not with madaya errr media but plain neighborhood gossip monger who has so much time in her hands thus she tends to poke her wagging tongue on other peoples lives, lol. I warned her though that she should stop spitting in public as she keeps on confusing freedom to spit for freedom of speech.

Seriously, this is something that should concern us all especially when the state of the fourth estate is in shambles where ATM journalism abound. On the other hand Senators Aquilino Pimentel Jr., Joker Arroyo, Juan Miguel Zubiri, Edgardo Angara, Richard Gordon, Gregorio Honasan, and Panfilo “Ping” Lacson want Congress to go ahead with the passage of the bill despite apprehensions that this would curtail press freedom in the country, at least we now know where their priorities are.

It seems the intent is “noble” but I think the bigger problem here is not about fairness but the slant and lies in liepapers errr newspaper due to the practitioners of ATM Journalism. This bill is more of a boon to scalawags now that they have the “right” or even a license to come up with prepared statement that is not necessarily factual since criminals are not dumb to incriminate themselves in writing or yap in broadcast media. Will it hurt ATM Journalism practitioners or will it become a more profitable business? I say it will be more lucrative as they will be in demand from scalawags who now has been given a license to bombard hapless liepaper readers and those who listen and watch radio and television broadcast more lies and half-truths.

Neal Cruz in his column the 'Right of reply' law no longer necessary, is a good read, so is the Statement of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility on the Right of Reply Bill, Should There be a Law on the Right of Reply? by Gary Mariano, or read the Senate Bill No. 1178 - Right to Reply in the Field of Broadcast and Print Media, and if all else fail they should just follow the suggestion of Rep. Pablo John Garcia and be a blogger instead of passing bills.

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Controversy in the Mauling of Marcel Piezas and underage drinking in ‘Open Party’

There is an email going the rounds coming from Celine Piezas mother of Marcel Piezas a 2nd year Ateneo high school student mauled at an “Open Party,” posted at Katrina Ponce Enrile's Notes, that you can also read here, here, here, summaries here or the twisted Stoya side.

“Open Party” is an event outside of campus sponsored by groups of High School students from exclusive schools such as Ateneo, Assumption, Poveda etc. that attracts illegal activities. Unsupervised minors organizing an event where sex, drugs, and alcohol are involved a surefire ingredient for chaotic night that results at times with destruction and brawling, to quote Celine Piezas:
I cannot sleep soundly knowing that our sons and daughters are prone to being swallowed by profligacy. Did you parents know that kids nowadays dance "spooning" style? Did you know that there are mobile bars for rent that serve "mocktails" or full fledged cocktails and beer in bubble containers to our young teen-agers unmindful of the alcohol prohibition for minors (ask Sober Club, Elation, Party Fuel, Club Fishbone, Booze, Event Shaker, On the Rocks, etc.). I even heard that open parties are now being used by pushers as their market for mood altering wares. I didn't even know that the Greenmeadows party that Marcel attended was entitled "Lust", which is one of a series of seven parties named after the seven deadly sins. I was shocked at having found out the organizers' preference for their party names.
For the latest Philippine news stories and videos, visit GMANews.TV

The incident is so disturbing while it has similarities to the Bambee De La Paz and Mayor GoofBall errr Pangandaman in the Valley Golf brawl where exclusive enclaves of the upper midget errr middle class to filthy rich are now becoming venues of aberrant behavior and equally aberrant response after the incident. I really don’t care as much when it comes to golf since it is a silly game of hitting a small ball while squandering so many acreage of land when you see the dire situation of landless farmers trying to survive in a nation so impoverished by corrupt government leaders. But this kind of incident, you don’t expect happening at these places may indeed reflect where Philippine society is heading……. down the muck of sliding into the abyss of retrogression.

To think that “Open Parties” are held in exclusive villages where minors, repeat minors are breaking the laws on underage drinking coupled with illegal drugs is a sure sign of disaster that corrupts young minds that it is ok to indulge in stupidity. Hearing about this “Open Party” which is actually more of a Dumb Party surely makes me glad that we left this godforsaken place as we used to send our kids to these exclusive schools and imagining the horror of bringing them up in that environment is not what a responsible parent is envisioning in raising responsible contributing members of society.

Another problem that seems to be the norm in this event is the overcrowding where organizers allow in patrons double to triple the capacity of the venue. Fire hazard and safety concerns that obviously being minors do not realize the consequence of having a huge crowd that they can’t handle. Now, are these organizers supervised by an adult or are they on their own? If there is no adult supervision, do the exclusive village associations enter into a contract with minors? Why do the residents not complain with the police if they see that their clubhouses are overran and packed to more than their capacity spilling to the parking lots?

The response that I read at Mommy Aya’s blog hopefully does not mirror the mindset of ignorant youths in a society where the culture of corruption is so endemic that may have destroyed their sense of what is just and right at an early stage of their formative life. Youths that one day will inherit what pathetic leaders of today will leave in complete shambles to be replaced by equally pathetic leaders of the future. This is probably why even young leaders of today that we see in the house of representathieves errr representatives and the house of kotongs errr senatongs, yikes I meant senate are nothing but big disappointments wallowing in pigsty errr following in their predecessors footsteps.

There is one who claimed to be an “American” and a Filipino at the same time who says that underage drinking is the norm even in the US just so amazes me and wondering in what ghettoville he was raised by his parents. Or one who claims that drinking is condoned by parents during holidays and special occasion truly baffles the mind. Why did I not know of that? I am not exactly living under a rock or something and I used to drink and has mellowed down to social drinking once in a blue moon. Never have I seen or encountered in the US of A parents even of Filipinos allowing their minor children to drink alcohol. But then again, maybe there are those that fit our Amboy Pinoy’s “perceptive” puny mind. If there are any that I missed, they probably ended up in prison for corruption of minors, child endangerment and abuse thus I somehow did not see those kind of parents.

I thought I have seen everything but these puny dumb morons in trying to rationalize and defend their alcohol induced partying are rushing to defend the organizers. Trying desperately to appeal in their deluded sense of fairness that bar owners stands to lose business if minors are not allowed to drink alcohol in their establishments. Now that is truly the height of moronization of a nation. Ok, I know and my apologies to the Moros, moronization is not a word but you know what I mean and besides it rhymes with nation, lol.

It appears that Marcel Piezas and her mom Celine Piezas is now the butt of “jokes” in campuses where the rumors had been flying like Gloria Arroyos Garcified million votes. Marcel for being a "tattletale" and her mom for being a “hypocrite” in exposing what goes on in the “Open Party" because partying is the end all of everything in life. The bigger problem here is why are the youths calling Celine Piezas a hypocrite tells a lot on the kind of society that the Philippines is in. Is this an indication that there is no law against underage drinking and that underage drinking is the norm or rite of passage? Just like the Goofball Valley Golf Brawl there seems to be a fixation on the other side of the coin no matter how dumb and ridiculous it is. The youths are pathetically yapping their resentment over their "side" of the deal on losing their "entitlement" to have an alcohol induced and even going on a drug high "Open Party" is as ridiculous as it gets. Wake up people, if this is how the youths of today see their society that is sadly a reflection of poor parenting in a corrupt environment surely is a formula for retrogression and being left in the dust by progressive neighboring Asian countries.

Heck, this is the problem when people ape what they see in the west. Unfortunately what they saw or heard that happens during spring break are not high school kids but college kids and not minors anymore. These alcohol binges they see are usually done in countries where there is utter lack or lax in enforcing laws against excessive drinking like Mexico which is just like the Philippines……. corrupt and relaxed as long as the moolah is coming in. Is this a sign where Philippine society is headed, as in nowhere land and getting worse when we see the youths from exclusive schools starting to act and talk gibberish like the contemporary fooliticians of the garcified kind?

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Stimulus law belatedly recognizes Filvet's war service

The recent stimulus package otherwise known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 is extending critical uplift to qualified Filipino veterans of World War II especially at this time of difficult financial situation. Equally significant, its Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation provision finally recognizes their service during that war as active military service in the Armed Forces of the United States, something that was unjustly denied them by virtue of the Rescission Act of 1946.

The new law may not be perfect. Nothing is. There are some who question the sly way it was being earmarked into an economic stimulus package; that it is too little too late because of the hundreds of thousands of Filipinos who served, only about 15,000 are still living -- 12,000 in the Philippines and 3,000 in United States, according to some reports.

Additionally, many veterans say they would have preferred a monthly pension instead of lump sum payouts. According to Dr. Jenny Batongmalaque, executive director of the Filipino Veterans Foundation, the benefit "is not even a consolation prize" because most of the widows are not included. Asst. Secretary Jesus Terry Adevoso of the Veterans Affairs, Office of the President, pointed out that the amount is payment of "damages for human suffering" and "therefore cannot be considered as part of the equity package of compensation long sought by our world war II veterans." Col. Romy Monteyro, Ret., agrees. A known confidant of Rep. Bob Filner, Monteyro told this writer, "you can assure the FilVets that I will continue to fight for their rights on Capitol Hill until full Equity is won."

Whatever its defects, veterans and friends deserve their celebratory mood these days. Bent with age and many sickly, their ranks grossly decimated by natural attrition, veterans concerned -- at least those who are still with us -- can at last bask on the glory of their courage and sacrifices. Sixty-three years late. In the words of Adolfo Paglinawan, a former diplomat and current chair of the Association of Ecclesial Movements and New Communities-Washington, "I have watched closely how this fight went for the past 23 years and I am elated that I saw its victorious culmination in my lifetime."

Photo Caption: A photo-op with Filipino WWII veterans and friends. Center front in red is Congresswoman Roybal-Allard, eldest daughter of former Congressman Edward R. Roybal who, according to Franco Arcebal (third from left), a vice president of the American Coalition for Filipino Veterans, also helped the Filipino veterans cause during his term. Inset is L.A. City Council President Eric Garcetti thanking the veterans for their service. Garcetti defined his own advocacy for Filipino veterans "not only because it is the right thing to do; it is a family affair." His father was a U.S soldier who saw action in the Philippines in that war.

Dionesio C. Grava - Part-time community journalist based in Los Angeles and editorial writer at Forum Asia.

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Jueteng conspiracy in Pampanga bringing down Among Ed

The plot thickens in Pampanga as the traditional politicians continuously frustrate and sabotage Governor Eddie “Among Ed” Panlilio every step of the way from withholding the salary of his staff to the overstaying Police Director.

Despite repeated demands by Gov. Panlilio through formal communications (18 communications – four of which Panlilio personally delivered) urging the Philippine National Police to replace overstaying PD Singian who seems to be suffering from jueteng induced blindness errr failure to acknowledge the existence of Jueteng he has now been finally replaced. Unfortunately by someone not among those recommended by the Governor and he has to wait and see how the replacement performs his duty.

According to Gov. Panlilio in his visit at camp Crame in Quezon City, he accused Mikey Arroyo, Jr., (Pampanga Representative and son of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo) San Fernando police Chief Superintendent Benjamin Medina and a certain Fr. Jun Mercado, for “meddling" to keep Senior Superintendent Keith Ernald Singian in position as Pampanga provincial director. Police Chief.

Of course Mikey Arroyo denies the allegations and the usual response that goes around in circle is heard from the son of one with a Garcified mandate is expected, to quote:

“I don’t know where the governor’s information is coming from…I don’t know why he’s doing that to me," the lawmaker said.

Mr. Arroyo said Panlilio might just be suffering from “insecurities" over the change of power in the local police, because the governor’s very position itself has been put to question in the past.

“In my strong Catholic belief, I don’t fight with a priest… Tanggap ko siya bilang pari pero hindi bilang hari [I accept his being a priest but not acting as a king]," Mr. Arroyo said.
Insecurities my you know what Mikey, are you a nincompoop or what? Yeah, yeah we know you are the princess errr the presidents son but as a courtesy you have to butt out and instead of dumb response it will help if you shut your trap that really solves nothing but frustrate a duly elected governor in performing his duty and obligation to rid your province of jueteng. Unless you are proud of your province reputation as the Jueteng Capital of the Philippines then go ahead and continue with the perversion. People are talking and tongues are wagging due to the ridiculous response coming from the likes of you and your mom’s running dogs errr administration people, yapping about loose talk without evidence (sprawling mansion in Lubao and doling out money to Pampangos as if money is going out of style is worth looking into if evidence is what they need or is it because they have a problem seeing the obvious?) this one from Ramon Tulfo is worth noting:
Panlilio is right about the police provincial director in Pampanga being a protégé of Pampanga Rep. Mikey Arroyo, the favorite son of the President.

Every police officer appointed as Pampanga police chief, and even Central Luzon chief, had Mikey’s blessing.

And who was that whistle-blower who told a congressional inquiry years ago that the President’s brother-in-law, Negros Occidental Rep. Iggy Arroyo, worked for the appointment of police directors to other regions where jueteng was also rampant?

Didn’t that whistle-blower testify that Iggy Arroyo collected money from jueteng lords in those regions?

If it’s true Iggy Arroyo collected money from jueteng lords, as claimed by that whistle-blower, is there a remote possibility his nephew Mikey is also on the take from jueteng lords in Central Luzon?
For one anak ng Jueteng errr the son of allege Jueteng Lord Bong Pineda, Dennis Pineda the president of the Pampanga Mayors League (a very influential position for one so young unless he is a political wiz kid which I doubt very much is really bizarre) is like his foster brother he being the godson of his mother, so there is definitely a connection. How can the Pinedas exert so much political influence in the province when Bong is not even a handsome popular actor and Lilia "Baby" the wife is no genius either and yet local politicians seems to scramble in pleasing the family? Now, why in the name of Garcified cheaters will the PnP allow an overstaying Police Director with serious problems seeing the scourge of jueteng in clinging like the president with questionable mandate only fuels the rumors that he is there to protect those who benefits from Jueteng. How can local elected officials effectively police the province if there are indications that those connected to malacanang are influencing the appointment of Police Directors? Well whoever is loaded with ton loads of money legitimate or otherwise of course becomes god in the pathetic Philippine politics of patronage. As if the aberration is not bad enough and I hope what Tulfo is saying below is not the general mindset of the people or is it?
Instead of complaining about the rampant “jueteng” operations in his province, Pampanga Gov. Ed Panlilio could have put his foot down on the illegal numbers game.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita hit the nail on the head when he countered that “crime and vice are the direct responsibility of local officials, such as the good governor.”

Take Puerto Princesa and Palawan, for example.

When he was not yet mayor, Puerto Princesa’s Edward Hagedorn was a jueteng lord in the city and province.

But since he got elected mayor, Hagedorn has put a stop to jueteng. Now, the city and province are jueteng-free.

Years ago, a police provincial director tried to set up jueteng operations in the city and province, but the police official could not because Hagedorn and the late Gov. Salvador Socrates would not allow it.

Governor Panlilio, stop being a cry baby and grow up!
So in effect it is ok to be a Jueteng Lord when a politician is still buying his position as long as he stops being one after getting elected? Well, is this the same case in Pampanga? Not! This kind of mentality is no different from the warped sense of justice as seen in the video interview of a US$100 contract killer wherein he rationalizes his perverted killing spree as a form of vigilante justice serving the needs of ordinary people denied justice by the system.

What is sad is it seems that Among Ed is fighting a lonely battle and instead of figuring out how to support Among Ed in his good governance advocacy there seems to be a lot of noise against Among Ed's lack of political maturity? It is obvious that Among Ed is a neophyte a greenhorn if you will but to be politically savvy means learning the dirty tricks of the trade in a political system that is run like a Mafiosi syndicate.

Your stimulus package has arrived

Bottom Line
By Marvin Bionat

A rider in the recently approved stimulus package is the authorization to release $198 million to benefit Filipino veterans who served under the U.S. during World War II. In a TV interview, Republican Senator Jon Kyl from Mississippi criticized the inclusion: "There are so many different things that you can make fun in this bill. Let me just mention one—millions of dollars to World War II Filipino veterans in the Philippines. Now, that may be a good thing to spend money on, but not in a stimulus bill. It doesn't stimulate anything."

What Senator Kyl failed to realize is that the $198 million was actually already appropriated last year, so it won't come out of the stimulus package. So why was the rider included in the final version of the bill? Long-time supporter of Filipino veterans Senator Daniel Inouye, who happens to be the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said that "it will close a dark chapter in the history of this country," referring to America's failure to keep a promise to hundreds of thousands of Filipinos, who fought for the U.S. during World War II, that after the war they would qualify for full veterans benefits.

There are an estimated 18,000 Filipino veterans expected to benefit from the signing of the bill—6,000 of whom are in the U.S., while the rest are in the Philippines. Those in the U.S. will receive a lump sum of $15,000, while Philippine-based veterans will get $9,000. In an ideal world, Filipino veterans should have received full monthly benefits (and get what's due them retroactively), so the proposed lump sums are a pittance, but under the dark shadow of a major recession the release of the funds has been generally hailed as an achievement. The average age of a Filipino veteran is 90, and the U.S. is clearly struggling to fund just the basic governmental programs and obligations, so there has been an understandable let's-get-what-we-can urgency in the veterans' equity lobby.

Senator Kyl's critique typifies the partisan nature of the Republican response to the stimulus package crafted largely by the Democrats. Not a single Republican member of the House of Representatives voted in favor of the bill. In the Senate, only three Republicans voted for it. The voting appeared to be driven by the same old partisan politics, but in an interview, senior Obama adviser David Axelrod displayed patience (calculated civility perhaps) by acknowledging differences in points of view between the two parties; that is, the Republican reliance on tax cuts and what seems to be their repudiation of Keynesian approach to fighting recessions.

If it is true that FDR got the country out of the Depression because of government spending in infrastructure and social welfare, then overall the stimulus package should have a positive effect. The mind-set among Republicans, however, is that only their idea of economic recovery will work and that America was wrong in electing Obama. As a result, they seem poised to spend the next four years lambasting the Obama administration every chance they get. I suppose that's why they're called politicians, not statesmen. With the Democrats controlling Congress, there is less need for statesmen or at least mavericks from the other side of the aisle. And Obama is expected to bring his case to the American people, which will only be a bane for the Republican party, who will ultimately appear to be obstructionists, especially if the economy improves as a result of largely Democratic efforts.

The total resources allotted to salvage the U.S. economy so far is around $1.5 trillion ($787 billion recently approved plus the $700 billion for the troubled assets relief program or TARP approved by Bush before Obama took office). That seems huge, but the general consensus among prominent economists (including 2008 Nobel laureate Paul Krugman) is that stimulating the economy out of this serious recession requires an even greater infusion; the range being bandied about is $2-3 trillion. With 75 percent of the recently approved stimulus package expected to be spent in the first 18 months and the more immediate release of the remaining $350 billion under TARP, it is hoped that the buds of recovery will start to sprout perhaps as soon as later this year or early next year. There is, however, a big unknown in the economic recovery issue: the true and full extent of the havoc wrecked by the sub-prime mortgage crisis. Even at this time it is not clear how much damage has been done and whether banks being helped through TARP will actually remain solvent.

The Democrats will probably play it by ear in the coming months, hoping hard that they won't need to push for another stimulus package and go up to the $2-3 trillion or an even higher range. That will bring the national debt to GDP ratio to more than 80 percent, not seen since the post-war spending hit more than 120 percent. Back then America recovered nicely, mainly because entire industries were in a strong growth cycle, and domestic and foreign markets were wide open for American products. Now, aside perhaps from a potential green technology boom, there's seems to be a scarcity of industries to drive economic growth, and foreign markets are harder to crack due to fierce global competition. Clearly, the economic imperative for America (aside from simply surviving the seizure that the sub-prime mortgage crisis triggered) is to take a strong lead in scientific and product innovation (be it in green technology, bioscience, medical research, etc.) that will create jobs at home and capture markets abroad.

The Obama administration did make a strong policy statement along that line by insisting that investments in green technology, scientific research, and innovation be included in the stimulus package. Provisions that made it through include at least $6 billion in loan guarantees for renewable energy projects and tax breaks or grants for wind and solar energy investments, $2 billion for research in batteries for electric cars, and $15 billion for scientific research mainly at U.S. universities. Overall spending on higher education is expected to top $32 billion. The Republicans call the investments pork and would rather see more tax breaks for the rich.
Marvin Bionat is the creator of PhilippineUpdate.com, a news and views site that has served as a virtual platform that promotes various advocacies, including the political empowerment of overseas Filipinos and accountability in government. He wrote the National Bookstore bestseller How to Win (or Lose) in Philippine Elections (Anvil Publishing, 1998) and is now based in the U.S. working as an editor.

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Guns for Hire in the Philippines on the cheap

The slow grind of Justice in the Philippines creates a bigger problem no one seems to notice; people tend to settle their difference outside of the court house. Settling of grievances outside of the court system perceived as very corrupt where judgment tilts to the highest bidder gives them instant revenge while saving them enormous amount of money.

In a society where people are in extreme poverty it is a matter of survival for the desperate people running out of choice. Criminals will not have a hard time rationalizing their despicable murderous acts when you cannot distinguish the difference between a criminal and people in high places. The impunity of criminals lording over the nation shamelessly flouting their power over the rule of law in turning the table on those who wants to make a difference as aptly described by Raul Pangalangan in his column:
It has been fashionable lately to make of nationalism the last refuge of scoundrels, and to use our sovereignty to lend a protective mantle for local depredation. Make no mistake about it. The thieves who run this government are nothing but feudal warlords in modern garb. They speak only the language of power. Let us talk to them in the only language they understand.
Al Jazeera's Marga Ortigas interviews a hit man getting paid a measly US$100.00 for contract killing, a sign that the nation has now reached the lowest of the low in a nation run by criminals you expect the subjects to have the same criminal inclinations to murder people for survival. This is beyond outrageous to think that one can end up six feet under for US$100.00 is a terrifying prospect. In a society where people disappear or summarily executed through state sanctioned violence, our silence only erodes respect for the sanctity of life even further.

The fact that a foreign media was able to get direct access to gun for hire cold blooded killer is truly alarming perhaps a sign that these are not isolated incidents but one phenomenon gaining ground in a broken justice system. How organized are these groups should be investigated and the culprits behind these indescribable crime locked away for good. But then again, if you have corrupt and inept people rising above their positions not through merits but through patronage how will they address or even bother to find a solution is like asking the fox to guard the hen house.

Perhaps this is an indication of how extensive the problem is when you read this kind of news in Pangasinan, or this one on 7 guns-for-hire tagged in slay of PDEA agent, son or when Dante Jimenez commissioner of PAOCC (Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission) and VACC (Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption) is quoted by Inq7:

“Guns-for-hire [groups] have the complete ingredients of an organized crime. It is composed of two or more participants. There are connections with various influential pillars of society and money is involved,” he said.

He said there are some villages in the country where one could get assassins for P5,000 to P10,000 (US$100 to 200). He said this problem would surface as the 2010 elections draw near.

Crime syndicates, particularly those engaged in the illegal drugs trade, are using minors as couriers, he also said.

These syndicates take advantage of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act (Republic Act 9344), which exempts children, 15 years old and below, from criminal liabilities, he said.

Alarming indeed and with a government that has the propensity of taking a short cut in a knee jerk fashion will they rescind the law or revised the law to impose a heavier sentence for those behind the crimes and corrupting minors? How about addressing the root cause of the problem why we have a broken republic that one Garcified president insists on deluding herself and the people that we are on the road to becoming a strong republic?

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US Embassy on New Filipino WWII Veterans Benefit


February 18, 2009

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs is reaching out to all Filipino WWII veterans regarding the new one-time lump-sum benefit payment signed into law on February 17, 2009. The United States has great respect for the bravery and service of Philippine WWII veterans and for their partnership with the U.S. military in defending freedom. This new legislation, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, formally recognizes the service of Filipino WWII veterans as active military service in the Armed Forces for purposes of this law.

In accordance with the new law, for an individual to be eligible for payment, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs must receive the individual’s claim no later than February 16, 2010, which is one year from the date U.S. President Barack Obama signed the historic legislation.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is working to quickly implement the new U.S. law. Filipino WWII veterans can inquire about and submit claims for the new lump-sum benefit at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Manila Regional Office located at the U.S. Embassy in Manila. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Manila Regional Office will also have representatives available to accept claims at the following locations throughout the Philippines on the dates listed below:

All Filipino WWII veterans are requested to bring the following information and documentation (if applicable) when filing their claims:

  • Two forms of Identification (such as passport, driver’s license, Senior Citizen ID, Bureau of Post ID, Voter ID, etc. )
  • VA Claim number
  • Service Number
  • Philippine Veterans Affairs Office claim number
  • Philippine Veterans Affairs Office Pension bank account number
  • U.S. Passport (if a U.S. Citizen)

In order to provide effective, transparent service, claims will only be accepted from Filipino WWII veterans. We encourage all Filipino WW II veterans to apply in person at one of the locations listed above on the dates indicated. If a veteran is unable to appear in person, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Manila Regional Office will arrange to obtain the application in an appropriate manner. Claims from spouses, widows and children of Filipino WWII veterans will not be accepted.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is working to implement this new law in a timely and efficient manner to ensure all eligible veterans receive their rightful benefits as soon as possible. Although claims are now being accepted, information regarding the actual release of payments will be provided as it becomes available. This information will be available on the US Embassy website at http://manila.usembassy.gov

For more information please dial (632) 528-2500 within Metro Manila or from outside Manila toll-free at 1-800-1888-5252. Or contact VA via e-mail at https://iris.va.gov

Beware, stay away from fixers and scam artist, check with the US Embassy or the US Veterans Affairs for more information.

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Coup de grace of the Filipino Veterans Equity Bill

By Jenny L. Batongmalaque, M.D.
With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations."

Abraham Lincoln, 1865
Inaugural Address

Finally, upon the stroke of a pen of the 44th President, Barack Obama, the fight for recognition of services of the Filipino WWII Veterans has been vindicated amid a contentious Stimulus Bill. The one time lump sum of $15,000 to the surviving Veteran residing in the US as a citizen, or permanent resident, and $9,000 for the non-citizen has been included by none other than the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, the illustrious, Senator Daniel Inouye.

"This was passed and appropriated by Congress last year, only no money has been authorized," Senator Inouye said. By the grace of the Stimulus, this Filipino Veterans Enhancement Act has been included in between the covers of the 1100-page draft. The Republicans, the detractors, the skeptics have alluded to the Filipino Veterans bonus as having no place in the stimulus bill, only more spending bill instead.

For one whose lifelong passion is to vindicate her father's service to the United States Armed Forces in the Far East in WWII, the inclusion of the Filipino Veterans Enhancement Bill is not even a consolation prize, on the 63rd anniversary of the Rescission Act of February 18,1946, which had unconscionably denied my father, and all like him, 185,000 of them, who now belong to the ages. They are all gone now, so are most of the widows, my mother included. There are still 50,000 surviving widows who are not included in the equation of this new law, better known as the Stimulus package.

This one time lump sum bonus which the surviving WWII Veteran, estimated to be 15,000 left, will claim for, is the coup de grace, particularly to those who fought hard for full rights and benefits. Nonetheless, they are finally recognized for their service, after all these years of being rejected and denied.

But what about the widows who languish prior to this new law of recognizing the surviving Veterans? If President Lincoln were alive today, would he have defined which widow of a Veteran gets compensated?

"It doesn't sound right that the widows are not included," Robert Saxon, director of the VA service office of the County of Los Angeles. "We need to wait for the directives of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs for the final word on this matter. But we are ready to service the Filipino WWII Veteran, and have allotted Tuesdays and Thursdays to those who will seek claims." Call the Filipino Veterans Foundation (213-746-9093) located at the same office, at 2615 So. Grand Ave., Room 100, Los Angeles, 90007 for further assistance .

Photo provided by the Filipino Veterans Foundation

Caption: Filipino veterans watch on TV at the Filipino Veterans Foundation Meeting Room in Los Angeles as the president signs the Stimulus Bill on February 17, 2009.

Note: The author is executive director of the Filipino Veterans Foundation, which can be reached at Tel. No. 213-746-9093 or FAX 213-746-9050. Web site is www.erbfoundation.org

For more information on filing for FilVet claims click on US Embassy on New Filipino WWII Veterans Benefit
Dionesio C. Grava - Part-time community journalist based in Los Angeles and editorial writer at Forum Asia.

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US Muslim Suspected of Grizzly Wife Beheading, a case of Honor Killing?

Ironies of irony when Muzzammil Hassan, 44 the founder/owner of Bridges TV in the Buffalo suburb of Orchard Park, New York, a station set up in 1994 to counter Muslim stereotypes is accused of beheading his wife, 37 year old Aasiya (Zubair) Hassan.

The mission statement of Bridges TV a satellite-distributed news and opinion channel:

Bridges TV aims to foster a greater understanding among many cultures and diverse population.

Through our high-quality, informative 24x7 programming in English; we seek to become a unifying force that can help people understand our diverse world through education and entertainment.

Muzzammil Hassan of Pakistani descent is facing 2nd degree murder after he went to the police station and led the officers to his wife’s decapitated body the mother of his 4 and 6 year child. Muzzammil Hassan had two children from previous marriage aged 17 and 18.

Aasiya (Zubair) Hassan filed a divorce due to domestic violence which the police have responded several times at the couple’s home according to Andrew Benz, Orchard Park's police chief.

The grizzly and very disturbing crime committed against the wife of the founder of Bridges TV negated whatever gains they achieved in enlightening people. This is not supposed to be happening in the US at that or any other country for that matter, but it did so how can we explain such dastardly act is truly baffling.

Bridges TV issued a statement and appeal to the public below:

Buffalo, NY - Bridges TV is deeply shocked and saddened by the murder of Aasiya [Zubair] Hassan and subsequent arrest of Muzzammil Hassan. Our deepest condolences and prayers go out to the families of the victim. We request that their right to privacy be respected.
If Hassan is found guilty of the crime, is this considered a case of honor killing?

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